What is it?
England welcome Scotland to a crowd-less Twickenham in both sides’ opening match of the 2021 Six Nations. The visitors are searching for a first win on English soil since 1983 – after coming so close in that 2019 crackerjack draw – while Eddie Jones’ team will be looking to retain the Calcutta Cup after victory at Murrayfield in 2020.
England face the Scots for the 139th time in a match that marks 150 years since the rivals clashed in the first ever international rugby match.
When is it?
Saturday, February 6.
What time is kick-off?
The match will start at 4.45pm.
What TV channel is it on?
ITV will broadcast this fixture, as they have the rights to all of England’s home matches.
What is the team news?
Owen Farrell will start England’s clash with Scotland at fly-half as part of physical midfield selected for Saturday’s showdown.
For the first time since the 2019 World Cup quarter-final victory over Australia, George Ford has dropped to the bench, making way for the more muscular trio of Farrell, Ollie Lawrence and Henry Slade.
Ford missed the start of the autumn because of an Achilles injury but having been restored to full fitness, he was picked as chief conductor for the victories over Wales and France.
It will be Lawrence’s fourth cap and first Six Nations appearance and the Worcester inside centre will be given the role of midfield battering ram at which he showed promise during the Autumn Nations Cup.
Apart from the adjustment made at fly-half and 12, Jones has retained the same backline that sent France spinning to defeat in sudden death at Twickenham two months ago.
The vacancy created by Sam Underhill’s hip injury sees Tom Curry move across the back row to openside and Mark Wilson slots in at blindside flanker for his first Test appearance since March.
Wilson has beaten Ben Earl to the available flanker position and the rising Saracens star, who is on loan at Bristol, continues to supply cover.
Courtney Lawes missed the entire autumn because of an ankle injury but he must settle for a replacement role with Jonny Hill preferred as Maro Itoje’s partner in the second row.
England’s depth at prop is tested by Kyle Sinckler’s ban for swearing at a referee and the unavailability of Mako Vunipola and Joe Marler, providing starting opportunities for Ellis Genge and Will Stuart.
Beno Obano is the only uncapped player in the 23 and the Bath loosehead will make his debut if he comes on for Genge.